BNY Mellon Asset Management (Australia) has seen its two most senior executives after managing director Bruce Murphy depart.

The firm’s high-profile investment strategist, Don Russell, finished up on Friday after Murphy decided the role was not required.

“We are well served by our investment subsidiaries in Australia, I’ve had four of them visit in my first three months here, so I’d rather deliver strategic insights to investors via thought leadership seminars on topics of interest, ” said Murphy, coincidentally at the conclusion yesterday of just one such seminar, a fixed income event featuring BNY Mellon-owned managers Standish and Alcentra.

Russell spent nine years at BNY Mellon or its subsidiaries, having joined Australian equities quant shop WestLB Mellon Asset (Australia) in 2001. He remains the chair of NSW State Super, Australia’s largest superannuation fund by assets under management.

When asked about his immediate plans, Russell said he would familiarise himself with the new-generation iPhone he purchased yesterday.

“I’ve had the kind of career where the phone rings and things happen,” said the former Paul Keating adviser, who also served as Australia’s ambassador to the US in Washington between 1993 and 1995.

Meanwhile the Australian office’s deputy managing director and head of consultant relations, Stephen Alcorn, has given his notice and will leave the manager shortly after attending next week’s Conference of Major Super Funds in Brisbane.

Murphy said he was disappointed to lose Alcorn, who wants a break with his family after a hectic 2009 which saw him caretake the managing director role following James Gruver’s return to the US, and then add deputy MD responsibilities to his existing  job running consultant relations.

It is understood Alcorn is keen to return to the financial services industry in the second half of 2010.

BNY Mellon AM’s local account management will be restructured so that the chief liaison with each asset consultant will also have responsibility for that consultant’s major clients. Murphy himself will be the principal institutional account manager, along with an executive for which he is currently searching. That hire will be based in Melbourne, and Murphy expects to be able to name them in the next two or three weeks.

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